Craft cider grows, while flavoured cider sales wane
Craft cider will continue to lead growth opportunities, while flavoured cider has plateaued, according to the 2023 Westons Cider Report.
This year’s report findings also showcased the accelerated growth of craft cider, growing by more than 10% and contributing £19.5m to the total market.
Speaking at its eighth report launch this week, Westons Cider’s head of business development Darryl Hinksman said: “Following a truly extraordinary few years for cider sales in store, we always knew the market would take some time to settle as shoppers returned to more typical purchasing habits. Despite tough annualisations, driven by the huge growth we saw during the pandemic, and the ongoing cost of living challenges, we’re seeing the market decline less and less every month. This indicates the market is continuing to stabilise and is
in a strong position for 2023.”
Rebalancing of the category continued throughout 2022, following lifting of final pandemic restrictions, with the report showing that last year 254 million litres of cider was sold, up 56.2% on 2021.
According to the data, on-trade value share accelerated, hitting 63% of the category, surpassing the off-trade for the first time since 2019, totalling £1.86 billion.
The report findings also showed however that the convenience sector has “increased its share of sales to over 50% and is in prime position for growth” while “sociable occasions are expanding off-trade sales as consumers enjoy entertaining at home”.
Westons, based in Herefordshire, also predicted in its 2023 report that “premium, crafted ciders will continue to grow the category, as consumers seek value and quality in 2023 and flavoured ciders stabilise at one-third of the category”.
According to the data, “the cider market in the off-trade has stabilised over the last 12 months, while the craft sub-category (+10.2%) is continuing to lead growth opportunities in the market, realising Westons’ declaration that 2022 was the ‘Year of the Apple’”. Meanwhile, “the once buoyant flavoured cider market has balanced out at one-third of the total market, countering predictions that it could represent half of cider sales by 2023”.
Hinksman explained: “With this in mind, it’s heartening to see that the value of sales has decreased less than volume, down 7.1% compared with being down 10.6% respectively, as consumers seek out good quality ciders. While crafted ciders are bucking the trend entirely, as the only sector in growth, up 10.2%, and making up a fifth of the total category. Even in the current economic climate, we predict consumers will continue to seek out the best quality relative to price and will still be prepared to pay for little luxuries.”
Westons Cider insight and innovation manager Tim Williams revealed that in addition to the booming craft category, there are other opportunities for growth within the off-trade and explained: “We’re seeing some interesting behaviour changes in the cider category. A ‘quiet night in’ is often consumers’ preferred occasion for consuming cider, but we’ve seen social
occasions and catching up with friends grow over the last year. After the initial novelty of the re-opening of the on-trade following two years of extensive closures, we’re seeing people increasingly want to socialise at home. This is only going to be further impacted as people feel the pinch and look to save where they can – and make the most of celebrations at home, as well as when out and about.”
Williams added: “The convenience channel is in an ideal position to continue growing its cider sales this year. As with the general market, crafted cider is the only segment in growth and there is still headroom to explore. The total craft category in convenience is smaller than the market average – so it’s a natural place for retailers to focus attention and ensure they’re maximising sales opportunities by getting their ranging right.”
Looking to the future, Hinksman observed that “2022 marked another year of rebalancing post-pandemic and we can see that from these strong roots, there is opportunity for the cider category to continue to blossom, so long as the bestselling crafted options are made available to shoppers. With a host of bank holidays on the horizon, there’s huge potential for retailers, with last year’s Platinum Jubilee the fifth largest cider weekend in the off-trade. We’ve got to remember that even against a tough economic backdrop, consumers will be seeking out affordable luxuries. As a result, this is the time for retailers large and small to showcase this category through the bestselling products consumers are calling for”.
He concluded: ““This year, we have another bumper crop of bank holidays, starting with Easter in April before a trio of long weekends throughout May, which we expect to be a fruitful opportunity for cider sales. Plus, we have the Rugby World Cup in September, which will round off the summer season seamlessly over an extensive eight-week period. With this, plus a thirst for crafted cider from consumers, we’re confident 2023 will be another positive year for the on trade.”